Caribbean Carnival for Every Type of Traveler
Carnival is a cultural must in the Caribbean, but it varies from island to island. Check out which celebration is right for you, from celebrations for foodies to party animals to Carnival first-timers.
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What is Carnival?
You could say Carnival is like Mardi Gras, but that's a big generalization. Both festivals share Catholic roots and revolve around pre-Lent, Fat Tuesday traditions, but Carnival folds in African traditions like dance, music and costumes for a much more flavorful, vibrant party.
Historians believe that the first Carnival started in Trinidad in the colonial era when French and Spanish Catholics introduced Fat Tuesday to the island. At the time, many Africans on the island were celebrating freedom from slavery, so Carnival evolved into more than just Lent. It's part religion but also part emancipation and the celebration of African culture. From Trinidad, Carnival spread to other islands in the Caribbean and each culture put their own twist on festivities.
Today, many islands have ditched the Catholic ties and have moved their celebration from February to the summer, incorporating larger festivals and parties.